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Championing innovation: 8 venture funds fueling DisabilityTech

Get to know 8 venture capital (VC) firms that are funding the future of DisabilityTech - and helping build a more accessible world.

A woman in a wheelchair using a tablet, set against a colorful background of swirling light - almost as if she's inside a computer - surrounded by dollar signs.

Venture capital (VC) funds invest in companies that are primed for early-stage growth – which is exactly where many of the companies in the emerging DisabilityTech space are right now.

This early funding helps DisabilityTech companies grow their operations, support their development of innovative solutions that enhance the lives of individuals with disabilities, and get their product and services out to the market.

Get to know these 8 funds investing in disability tech:

1. Enable Ventures: Closing the disability wealth gap

Regina Kline leads the pioneering First Impact Venture Fund, a unique initiative that’s committed to closing the disability wealth gap while simultaneously delivering competitive, market rate returns.

Enable Ventures seeks to invest in companies that not only demonstrate financial success, but also drive both profit and purpose in historically underserved disability communities, such as their strategic investments into companies like Inclusively and Daivergent.

The fund’s investment strategy focuses on four impact areas:

By pursuing high-quality deals, reducing wealth disparities, and promoting inclusion within the disability community, Enable Ventures has established itself as a trailblazer in the world of DisabilityTech investments.

2. Difference Partners: Enhancing the lives of people who live and think differently

Led by founder and general partner Jesse Morris, Difference Partners is on a mission to support companies that are dedicated to enhancing the lives of individuals who learn and think differently. With a total of 20 investments to date, this fund has already established a notable track record in the DisabilityTech market.

One of its most recent investments, SpectrumAI, a company focused on developing innovative solutions for life-changing therapies, successfully raised $20 million in funding. Other notable disability tech organizations in the Difference Partners portfolio include Marker Learning, AnswersNow, Kinspire, Intellispark, and Agave Health.

With a fully committed venture fund of $40 million, strategic investments from Difference Partners align with their overarching mission of making it possible for everyone to access the information they need.

3. K Ventures: Powering the next generation of disability care

K Ventures, established in 2022, is focused on the next generation of disability care. Under the leadership of Managing Partners Christopher McKelvy and Judd Olanoff, the firm recognizes the role of philanthropy in advancing disability rights, and is supported by the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation, the international leader in intellectual disability policy and advocacy.

The K Ventures investment strategy focuses on early-stage tech designed to address barriers associated with learning disabilities including (but not limited to) autism, ADHD, down syndrome, and dyslexia. K Ventures places a strong emphasis on conditions that are typically overlooked, and prioritizes investing in innovations that positively impact the broader disability community.

4. Samaritan Partners: Driving change for underrepresented consumers

Chris Maher founded Samaritan Partners with a goal of driving positive change by offering portfolio companies not only financial resources, but business guidance as well. Maher sets the company apart with what he calls a “Patient capital + Conscious capitalism” approach that invests in for-profit, social good companies that serve underrepresented consumers.

Samaritan’s current portfolio showcases their dedication and interesting approach to this mission with investments in companies like Wheel the World (a travel website for people with disabilities to find accessible travel experiences) and Vertical Harvest (a company energizing local food systems via hydroponic, vertical, controlled environmental agriculture to deliver healthier food and futures).

5. Right Side Capital Management: Making progress in DisabilityTech

Right Side Capital Management, a San Francisco firm established in 2010, was founded by Kevin Dick and David Lambert.

Right Side invests exclusively in the pre-seed round of technology startups and makes 75-100 investments per year. And while they invest across multiple industries, they are steadily making their way into the DisabilityTech space with portfolio companies including Frenalytics (personalized learning software for cognitively impaired users), Parrots (medical assistive AI for patients with neurological conditions like ALS) and Maro (an education platform that provides students and parents with mental health resources).

6. Nesta Impact Investments: focused on social impact

Nesta Impact Investors is a UK firm founded in 2012 led by Lisa Barclay and Nathan Elstub.

As an impact investor, the firm’s mission is to make long-term investments in innovative organizations creating products and services that deliver social or environmental impact, and improve outcomes for people and the planet.

While Nesta invests in a variety of industries, impact is always the priority, which makes them one to watch in the DisabilityTech space. Companies in their portfolio include Applied (a behavioral science-backed recruitment platform that reduces bias, improves quality of hire and increases diversity) and WeWalk (a smart cane and app that make navigation easier, safer and more accessible for visually impaired people worldwide).

7. StartUp Health: Solving the greatest health challenges

StartUp Health, founded in 2011 by Steven Krein and Unity Stoakes, has set an ambitious and inspiring goal: solve the greatest health challenges of our time by collaborating with mission-aligned champions and founders.

They work with some of the biggest names in business, with limited partners including Mark Cuban and Steve Case, as well as co-investors like A16Z, Google Ventures, General Catalyst, and Goldman Sachs. And their StartUp Health Moonshots Impact Fund, a member-driven rolling fund, helps make valuable connections across and within a diversified global portfolio of private health innovation companies.

The firm’s primary focus is on biotech and healthcare technology companies, which encompasses several DisabilityTech startups including Avanlee Care (an app to help caregivers coordinate elder care support), NuEyes (a smart glass technology company committed to helping the low-vision community) and CarePredict (an AI-driven digital health platform for senior care).

8. Khosla Ventures: Investing in bold, early, impactful startups

Vinod Khosla, co-founder of Sun Microsystems, started Menlo Park-based Khosla Ventures in 2004. The firm invests in a wide range of areas from AI, climate and sustainability to financial tech, digital health, medical tech and diagnostics, therapeutics and frontier technology.

Khosla Ventures has invested in startups in the disability space, including a recent seed investment in Ava.me, which offers an AI-powered live captioning platform designed to make fast, cost-effective, fully ADA-compliant captioning accessible for Deaf and hard-of-hearing people as well as inclusive organizations.

Funding and fueling the future of DisabilityTech

The DisabilityTech sector is such an exciting place to be right now – and the Howe Innovation Center is right there: connecting, convening and having conversations with the people who can build the right solutions for the people who need them to ultimately create a more accessible world for everyone.

Are you an investor or entrepreneur in the DisabilityTech space? If so, we’d love to get to know you. Reach out to us and let’s chat.

Stay in the conversation

Innovation can’t happen without all of us. Together, we can solve real accessibility problems.

If you want more from-the-front-lines perspective on what’s happening across the DisabilityTech market, join the Howe Innovation Center community. You’ll get members-only access to resources and insight that’s not available anywhere else, including our white paper, Defining DisabilityTech: The Rise of Inclusive Innovation.

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